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Norway Plans Law Against Bitcoin Mining: Focus on Climate Protection

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  • Norway plans to regulate data centers to curb environmentally harmful cryptocurrency mining.
  • The Energy Minister emphasizes a focus on climate protection and seeks reputable players that are aligned with Norway’s environmental goals.

Norway is on course to enact a pioneering law to curtail mining operations within its borders. As reported by vg.no, Digitization Minister Karianne Tung and Energy Minister Terje Aasland have jointly introduced legislation to regulate data centers in the country.

This proposed law, the first in the country’s history, mandates operators to register and disclose essential service information. “In this way, we can regulate the industry in such a way that we show the door to projects that we don’t want,” said Minister Tung.

Moreover, Aasland emphasizes that this law addresses concerns surrounding cryptocurrency mining, particularly Bitcoin mining, which is associated with significant greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Minister further stressed that the aim is to deter projects that do not align with Norway’s environmental goals. “I have no interest,” he continues, “in players who just want to buy cheap electricity in Norway.”

Instead, Aasland maintained that the government seeks to attract reputable operators who contribute positively to society by providing valuable computer services through data centers.

Energy Strain in Northern Norway: Impact of Mining Farms on Resources

In March 2023, Arne Ivar Mikalsen, the chairman of the Nordland district, criticized the impact of mining farms on the region’s energy resources. He noted that these farms consume significant energy capacity that is crucial for other industries while generating few jobs.

Northern Norway boasts ample cheap and clean energy; however, existing power plant capacities and networks constrain its utilization. Furthermore, this challenge is heightened by Europe’s increasing energy demands and the rising need for computing power due to digitalization. As such, Mikalsen’s call for mining restriction gained support within the district council.

Besides, an estimate revealed that miners in northern Norway consumed 400 gigawatts of electricity in 2022 by May 2023. This figure was equivalent to the energy consumption of the Lofoten Islands, home to approximately 24,000 residents. Despite the region’s annual production of 30 terawatt hours of electricity, with ten terawatt hours exported, the strain caused by mining remains notable.

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